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Xcel expects $5bn Heartland Hydrogen Hub to start coming online in 2028

Executives from Xcel Energy said they expect parts of the DOE award-winning Heartland Hydrogen Hub will be activated in 2028 and 2029. About half of the $5bn proposal represents projects put forward by Xcel.

Xcel Energy expects a two-year period of negotiations with the Department of Energy over the $925m award for the Heartland Hydrogen Hub.

The Minnesota-based utility is a major proponent of the hub, which plans to produce ammonia for fertilizer production and includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Montana.

“We’re really excited about our clean fuels program, but it is fairly long dated,” CEO Bob Frenzel said on the company’s earnings call today.

Negotiations with the DOE and final engineering will likely take two years, with capital deployment starting near the end of the company’s five-year plan, Frenzel said.

“I would think that parts of the hub can be activated by 2028 – 2029,” he added.

About half of the $5bn Heartland Hub is attributable to projects proposed by Xcel, Frenzel noted, with about $2bn of company capital expected to fund the facilities alongside $500m of federal money for Xcel’s portion of the project.

Xcel was also part of the Colorado hub application – the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub – that did not win a DOE award. The company is still seeking to work with federal and state partners to advance some of the “attractive” projects in that region.

Frenzel said the company will put the hydrogen-related assets at the hub into regulated rate cases.

“If you think about our proposals at the DOE, we’ve got green hydrogen off of wind and solar, we’ve got pink hydrogen off of nuclear plants, and the end uses are: we’re going to help partners create green fertilizer, as well as some amount of blending into our gas plants and into our LDCs with some of the output.”

He added, “So the expectation is they would go through a regular state process around that capital investment and those ultimate uses for the fuel.”

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Raven SR raises $20m from strategic investors

Wyoming-based renewable fuels company Raven SR has closed a USD 20m strategic investment.

Wyoming-based renewable fuels company Raven SR has closed a $20m strategic investment, according to a press release.

Chevron U.S.A., ITOCHU Corporation, Hyzon Motors Inc. and Ascent Hydrogen Fund participated. Raven SR plans to build modular waste-to-green hydrogen production units and renewable synthetic fuel facilities initially in California and then worldwide.

Raven SR’s Steam/CO2 Reformation process involves no combustion, unlike incineration or gasification. The company’s process can also produce other renewable energy products such as synthetic liquid fuels (diesel, Jet A, mil-spec JP-8), additives and solvents (such as acetone, butanol, and naphtha) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The investment follows an agreement between Raven and Hyzon Motors to build up to 250 hydrogen production facilities across the United States and globally. Hyzon Motors, with US operations based in Rochester, New York, is a supplier of fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles.

Raven SR’s first renewable fuel production facilities will be built at landfills and will produce fuel for Northern California hydrogen fuel stations and for Hyzon’s hydrogen hubs. These initial facilities are expected to process approximately 200 tons of organic waste daily, yielding green hydrogen and producing on-site energy.

Raven SR’s production units are modular. In addition to landfills, they can also be placed at wastewater treatment plants and agriculture sites.

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Braya issues green hydrogen provision RFP

The Canadian company has plans to use green hydrogen as a feedstock and to export green ammonia to domestic and international offtakers.

Braya Renewable Fuels has issued an RFP for the provision of green hydrogen as a feedstock for its refinery operations in Come By Chance, Newfoundland and Labrador, according to a press release.

Proposals are to be submitted by 19 December of this year.

Braya could also export green ammonia to local, regional, and international markets. The company is now repositioning the facility to produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“Our production of renewable diesel requires substantial amounts of hydrogen feedstock every year,” the release states. “Braya has existing access to grey hydrogen; however, to produce the lowest carbon intensity rating possible, Braya is interested in acquiring green hydrogen to support its operations.”

At approximately 35,000 metric tons, the project would be the largest domestic green hydrogen project in Canada to date.

The operational footprint of the refinery, ample access to water, and existing infrastructure mean that production could be scale beyond Braya’s operational needs.

“Braya is open to capitalizing on potential opportunities with the successful proponent to scale green hydrogen and green ammonia production, storage, and handling to serve a larger market audience,” the release states. “… we have issued this RFP to solicit parties to support us with developing and exploring this opportunity.”

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Iwatani acquires Aspen Air

The acquisition marks Japany-based Iwatani’s entrance into US industrial gases.

Iwatani Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Japan’s Iwatani Corporation, has acquired Aspen Air, based in Billings, Montana, according to a press release.

Aspen Air is a manufacturer and distributor of bulk liquid industrial gases in Montana and surrounding states. It supports industrial and medical customers including those in the energy and chemicals sectors, hospitals, and packaged gases and independent distributor networks.

This acquisition marks Iwatani’s entrance into US industrial gasses.

Tom Harrison, Iwatani Corporation of America’s Vice President of Industrial Gases, will lead the Aspen Air Team. He has been leading Iwatani Corporation of America’s Specialty Gases business and Hydrogen Sourcing activities for the past 2 years and prior to that spent 32 years with Linde.

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Ammonia-to-power company planning up to $500m Series C

Ammonia-to-power start-up Amogy will launch a final equity raise once it establishes revenue milestones in 2023 and 2024

Amogy, an ammonia-to-power technology start-up, will likely launch a $400m to $500m Series C late next year, CEO Seonghoon Woo said in an interview.

The company should achieve its first revenues this year and grow those revenues in 2024 to reach a target valuation, Woo said. The company to date has not used a financial advisor.

Amogy is planning to use proceeds from a recent Series B-1 capital raise to expand into a Houston manufacturing facility as it seeks to bring its product to the market.

After demonstrating its technology on a drone, a tractor, and a semi truck, the company is currently working to install its ammonia-cracking technology on a tugboat, and plans to advance a commercialization strategy starting in 2024, Woo said.

The proceeds of the $139m capital raise announced last week will allow Amogy to expand into an already-built facility in Houston, Woo said. The company also plans to roughly double its workforce from 110 employees currently as it boosts capacity in R&D, manufacturing, and commercialization.

CEO Seonghoon Woo

Amogy was founded in 2020 by four MIT PhD alumni, including Woo, and is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Ammonia vs hydrogen

Woo believes using ammonia as a fuel and cracking it into hydrogen solves the transportation issues facing hydrogen, as ammonia is already a widely traded global commodity.

Similarly, at room temperature, ammonia can be stored as a liquid with only mild pressure (~8 bar), compared to the cryogenic requirements for liquid hydrogen.

And, according to a white paper commissioned by Amogy, the volumetric energy density of liquid ammonia is 12.7 megajoules per liter, which is higher than for liquid hydrogen at 8.5 MJ/L and compressed hydrogen at 4.7 MJ/L (at a pressure of 69 MPa in ambient temperature conditions), but lower than for diesel or gasoline.

“Over an equivalent distance, fueling a vehicle solely using ammonia would require approximately three times the internal tank volume needed for conventional diesel fuel but three times less than the volume required for compressed hydrogen,” the paper reads.

While Amogy’s technology is compatible with any color ammonia, Woo said regulations in Scandinavia and Europe give confidence that the global market for clean ammonia will become competitive with fossil-based fuels.

Scaling up

The recent capital raise gives Amogy roughly two years of runway before additional fundraising might be needed, at which point the company will have more visibility into revenue growth, Woo added.

The latest funding round was led by SK Innovation, joined by other global investors including Temasek, Korea Zinc, Aramco Ventures, AP Ventures, MOL PLUS, Yanmar Ventures, Zeon Ventures and DCVC.

The company previously raised roughly $70m in three separate funding rounds, with proceeds allowing it to demonstrate the drone, heavy-duty tractor, and semi truck. Woo said the tractor project drew interest from John Deere, which sent representatives to observe and offer some assistance on the retrofit.

In previous capital raises, Woo said Amogy has encountered investor reluctance to enter what is considered an early market with regulatory and economic risk, with some investors wanting to wait as much as another two years before gaining exposure to the market. The strongest interest has come from upstream producers.

Amogy plans to continue scaling up its technology in the maritime industry to cargo and container ships as well as offshore supply vessels, Woo said.

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California renewables developer taps advisor for capital raise

Utility-scale solar and storage developer RAI Energy has tapped an advisor for a capital raise. The company is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at projects in Arizona and California.

RAI Energy, the utility-scale solar and storage developer, has hired an advisor as it pursues a capital raise.

The company is working with Keybanc Capital Markets in a process to raise up to $25m, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

In an interview, RAI Energy CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said the company “is excited about having [Keybanc] act as our financial advisors on this fundraising round.” He noted that RAI is first a solar-plus-storage developer and is approaching investors as such.

However, RAI is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at two of its project sites in Arizona and California, he said.

“Hydrogen is a natural next step,” Alrai said of his company, adding that the end-product would be green ammonia for use in fertilizer production and industrial sectors. Pure hydrogen could also be kept for use in transportation.

A variety of partnerships would be required to develop hydrogen at RAI’s solar sites, Alrai said. The company could need advisory services to structure those partnerships.

RAI is working with engineers on the hydrogen question now and is open to additional technology and finance advisory relationships, he said. The company is also evaluating several electrolyzer manufacturers.

“It’s an open book for us right now,” Alrai said of hydrogen production. “We’re always open to talking to people who can help us.”

For hydrogen project development, RAI would seek project level debt and equity similar to its solar developments, Alrai said. Early-stage project sites in Colorado and New Mexico could also be candidates for hydrogen co-development.

Keybanc delined to comment for this story.

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Exclusive: Hydrogen blank-check deal and capital raise on track

A de-SPAC deal and associated capital raise for a hydrogen technology and project development firm are still on track to close this year, despite this year’s busted SPAC deals and sagging hydrogen public market performance.

H2B2 Technologies is still on track to close a de-SPAC deal and related capital raise before the end of this year, CEO Pedro Pajares said in an interview.

Spain-based H2B2 announced the deal to be acquired by RMG Acquisition Corp. III and go public in a $750m SPAC deal in May. In tandem, Natixis Partners and BCW Securities are acting as co-private placement agents to H2B2 for a capital raise that the company must close as part of the acquisition.

The company said recently in filings that the deal as well as the capital raise would close before the end of 2023, a fact that Pajares reiterated in the interview. He declined to comment further.

Many publicly traded hydrogen companies have dropped significantly in value in recent months, and dropped further on Friday following news from Plug Power that it would need to raise additional capital in the next 12 months to avoid a liquidity crisis.

Meanwhile, there have been 55 busted SPAC deals this year, according to Bloomberg, with Ares Management’s deal for nuclear tech firm X-Energy the latest to not close.

Expansion

H2BE recently inaugurated SoHyCal, its first facility in Fresno, California, and wants to get the message out to offtakers in California’s Central Valley that it has hydrogen available to sell.

“What we want to show is that H2B2 is the solution for those who are seeking green hydrogen in the Central Valley,” Pajares said.

Phase 1 (one ton per day) of the plant was funded by a grant from the California Clean Energy Commission. Phase 2 (three tons per day) will involve transitioning to solar PV power, and the company could consider a project finance model to finance the expansion, though Pajares believes the market is not yet ready to finance hydrogen projects.

In addition to project development, the company is also an electrolyzer manufacturer. It is focusing its efforts in the California market on future projects that are larger than SoHyCal, as well as those related to individual offtakers, Pajares said. End users will be in mobility and fertilizer, with offtake occurring via long-term contracts as well as through spot market transactions.

The company is pursuing developments in other regions of the US as well, he added, declining to name specific areas.

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